The unique and extremely popular [citation needed] authority on pop culture since 2008

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written by Sam Greenspan

A book with the word Grammar focused on the magnifying glass.

Hopefully, try and, lay low, and more misused words get the pedantic grammar treatment.

You know who everyone loves? The guy who constantly corrects everyone’s grammar.

I hope this list helps you become That Guy and, in the process, make tons and tons of new friends, because nothing is more cringe-worthy than having someone point out your grammatical errors in public.

11 commonly misused words and grammatical errors we always use

Here are 11 commonly misused English words and phrases that we (and by we, I mean myself included — but not the royal we, as you’re included too) seem to constantly (and surprisingly) get wrong.

Hey, it’s not the most unique list I’ve ever done. I’m sure my next one will come out better if it’s what I set my mind to.

1 | Try and

The correct phrase is “try to.” It really does make sense logically — the trying is part of the action. I don’t try and say goodbye and I choke, I try to say goodbye and I choke. (I also try to walk away, and I stumble.)

It’s a rough day for a journalism major when he learns he was grammatically bested by Macy Gray.

I remember when I learned the try and/try to disparity. I’d just gotten my first job writing professionally, in October of 2003, and I dropped a “try and” bomb in one of the first things I wrote. Little did I know it was one of the most commonly misused words. I was scolded, beat myself up about it for two weeks straight — and never made the mistake again.

The saddest part: Since that day, I’ve never been able to look at Homer Simpson’s incredible America “Try and Stop Us” t-shirt the same way.

2 | Hopefully

Hopefully has been called the most abused and misused word in the English language.

(Let’s put it this way: If Mariska Hargitay walked into Hopefully’s hospital room on Law and Order: SVU, she’d start the conversation all matronly and disarmingly with “Hi, I’m Olivia” — not “I’m Detective Benson.”)

Hopefully means “with hope” and describes a subject who feels hopeful. Here’s an example. “Hopefully, he decided to press his luck, Whammys be damned.”

It does not mean “it is hoped that.” So the sentence, “Hopefully, no Whammys will show up” is incorrect.

Hopefully, I ask you not to go through my archives to find all the places I’ve messed this up.

Words formed using scrabble tiles saying, choose your words.

3 | e.g. versus i.e

These two are used interchangeably, but actually have different meanings and different correct usages.

e.g. stands for the Latin phrases “exempli gratia” — meaning “for example.” It can be followed by any number of examples from any size set of possible examples.

i.e. stands for the Latin phrase “id est” — meaning “that is.” It should be followed by all of the applicable examples, leaving none behind.

“I love all the stars we see naked in Wild Things, e.g. Denise Richards” is correct, because Denise Richards is one of the stars who’s nude in that movie, and “e.g.” doesn’t have to include every single one.

But “I love all the stars we see naked in Wild Things, i.e. Denise Richards” is incorrect, because she’s not the only one. You’ve egregiously excluded Kevin Bacon and his gratuitous, scarring penis flash — and “i.e.” has to list every single applicable example.

Another example: I could say: “I test my web designs in a bunch of different web browsers, e.g. Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome.” That is correct. So is this phrase: “Microsoft doesn’t make very good web browsers, i.e. IE.”

4 | Chomping at the bit

The correct phrase is “champing at the bit” — which, in a classic case of proper English trumping logical English, doesn’t make as much intuitive sense.

Basically, the word chomp was derived from the word champ, which means “to bite or chew loudly.” But chomp is a transitive verb, meaning it needs an object. So while “chomping the bit” is grammatically correct, “chomping at the bit” isn’t.

Around this point in the list, I would expect you’re thinking to yourself: “Wait — homeboy is giving us a lesson on transitive and intransitive verbs? The very same guy who does lists on beer pong rules and the sexiest items for sale at the 99 Cents Only Store? What the hell?” And you make a valid point. But hey — at least it’s not the Internet’s 12 billionth article titled “Why the iPad sucks, but we’re gonna buy it anyway.”

5 | Could care less

If you “could care less,” technically, that means you DO still have some modicum of caring left toward the subject. “I couldn’t care less” is correct. It means that you are not bothered or don’t care anymore.

The phrase “could care less” has become one of the most commonly misused words today. It’s probably due to its use in movies and TV shows. People will even defend it, the way they defend the pronunciation of some words. But I really couldn’t care less at all.

Let’s pause, now, and give some dap to Joe Namath. Because even when drunk, he was able to use proper grammar to tell Suzy Kolber, “I wanna kiss you — I couldn’t care less about the team strug-a-ling.”

A book with yellow cover titled Everyday English

6 | You’ve got mail

Grammatical errors sometimes become accepted by the mainstream because some huge tech companies start using them, and everyone thinks they’re cool.

Ya know, America Online, if I’m going to pop in the floppy you sent me and use my 500 free hours… at least your announcer (and, later, an Austin Powers imitator who usurped your announcer) could greet me with the proper grammar: You *have* mail.

7 | Heart-wrenching

I had absolutely no idea about this one. “Heart-wrenching” is a term that shouldn’t be.

The correct term is “heart-rending.” Rending means tearing, so when something makes you feel deeply saddened, it’s heart-rending.

Wrenching means twisting which, linguists have decided, is something that can be done metaphorically to your gut but not your heart. I guess your heart can only be wrenched when Kano has decided to FINISH [YOU] in Mortal Kombat.

8 | Barb wire versus barb wire

Barbed wire is the wire, covered in barbs, places on the top of fences or wrapped around two-by-fours in late ’90s ECW matches.

Barb Wire is the name of the movie where Pamela Anderson spends 98 minutes nude on screen.

9 | Anxious versus eager

You can be anxious about something, but not anxious to do something. That’s eagerness. Anxious suggests a sense of nervousness or fear.

In the sentence “I’m anxious about the Saints in the Super Bowl… and I’m anxious to drink myself into a coma whether they win or lose” only the first “anxious” is correct.

It’s mind-blowing how people commonly misuse these words, even though their spellings are totally different.

10 | Lay low versus lie low

“Lay low” is an action, using the definition of lay meaning “to knock or beat down.” It’s regularly mistaken for “lie low,” which means to conceal yourself or bide your time. (Insert Lindsay Lohan LiLo-needs-to-lie-low wordplay here.)

So Snoop Dogg (in his famous track Lay Low) could fire off some rounds and lay someone low (most likely a n**** who be talkin’ loud and quite possibly holdin’ his dick).

But if Snoop wanted someone to stop talking and get out of the public view (most likely a bitch that said he shot some shit up out of his dick)… technically, he’d want her to lie low.

Pile of books on top of each other, with the topmost Grammar and Composition III.

11 | Collide

For things to collide, they both have to be in motion. Two cars collide on the road. A ship and a fishing vessel collide near the breakwater.

You can’t have a head-on collision with a pole — unless you’re talking about driving your car into someone named Kowalski. (That’s a big fat HI-YO for you right there. Aww yeah!)

OK. Grammar time is over, and I hope these misused words will stick in your mind from now on, so you can stop using them and probably correct other people too, so you can start making new friends. That would be fun!

Now let me get back to putting together a list of photos of animals humping different species of animals or something.